Microsoft reiterates it won’t sell facial-recognition tech to police until federal regulation passed


Credit: Microsoft

On the heels of Amazon and IBM taking stances about selling facial-recognition technology to law enforcement officials, Microsoft officials are weighing in, again, on the issue. Microsoft President and Chief Counsel Brad Smith said today, June 11, that the company won’t sell the technology to police departments until there’s a federal law regulating the technology, as noted in a Washington Post report.

In April 2019, Microsoft refused to install facial-recognition tech in California law enforcement officers’ cars and body cameras due to human rights concerns. Today, Smith said during a Post Live event that Microsoft had not sold its facial-recognition technology to law enforcement at all. Smith also said today that Microsoft plans to put in place “review factors” that would go beyond what Microsoft already has to determine the use of facial-recognition beyond law enforcement, the Post reported.

Smith’s comments today basically echo Microsoft’s stance since

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CaixaBank introduces facial recognition ATMs

Spain’s CaixaBank is rolling out cash machines fitted with facial recognition technology so customers can withdraw cash without entering a PIN.

The bank began using the ATMs in February 2019, with an initial 20 machines installed at major branches in Barcelona and Valencia. The latest plan will see more than 100 additional ATMs with biometric authentication technology rolled out across Spain. The roll-out is expected to be complete in July.

“In the current context of Covid-19, this project is particularly relevant given that it enables us to reduce the physical contact of customers with ATM surfaces,” said CaixaBank CEO Gonzalo Gortázar. “This measure comes in addition to using contactless cards, which contributes to promoting safe terminal use.”

The machines can validate thousands of points on a person’s face, through a combination of cameras and software. The technology means customers can limit the physical contact they have with the machines

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Robo-debt class action to continue despite Morrison’s lacklustre apology

After the Australian government admitted last month that its bungled robo-debt scheme incorrectly issued 470,000 debts to those in receipt of welfare, Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday apologised, kind of, in response to a story on a specific case shared by former Opposition Leader Bill Shorten during Question Time.

“I would apologise for any hurt or harm in the way that the government has dealt with that issue and to anyone else who has found themselves in those situations,” Morrison said.

The automation error due to the Centrelink Online Compliance Intervention (OCI) program, also known as robo-debt, will see the government hand back at least AU$721 million.

When the announcement was first made by Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert, he did not apologise for the error. Instead, Robert said the government has always taken its responsibility for income compliance and the welfare system “sensibly and appropriately and

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Tech firms respond to Nordic government calls

Nordic techs firms have responded to a call by governments for innovation to support efforts to re-boot their economies, by helping companies re-emerge and resume operations post Covid-19 lockdowns.

Specifically, Nordic governments want tech developed that can enable enterprises to restore normal business activities, by merging improved virus screening with flexible digital solutions that facilitate managers and employees who need to work on-site or remotely from home. 

Nordic companies operating in the artificial intelligence (AI) and digital domains have been quick out of the blocks, offering companies greater choice in running core parts of their operations remotely. Remote working technologies are being eagerly sought by Nordic companies, especially businesses that are experiencing difficulties in persuading employees to return to work in the absence of a Covid-19 vaccine or authorised effective treatments.

As a result, more Nordic companies have turned to AI, telecommuting and smart virtual assistant technology tools to deliver

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